CSJP Prepares Young People to Access Employment Opportunities

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Michelle Wright of the Almond Town community responds to questions posed by Recruitment Officers from Progressive Foods at the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) Job Fair held on November 20 at the Jamaica Conference Centre

(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)

More youngsters from the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP)-targeted communities are closer to accessing employment opportunities.

As the social intervention programme completes its final phase (Phase III), one of the main objectives is to increase labour attachment among youth.

This Labour Market and Employability Component provides positive opportunities and alternatives for youth in at-risk communities.

Communications and Social Marketing Coordinator for the CSJP, Patrice Tomlinson Nephew, told JIS News that this component is necessary as in the first year of CSJP (2001), low employability or low economic prospects was identified as one of the risk factors leading to crime and violence in Jamaica.

“The CSJP responded to this by positively engaging youngsters from communities in a suite of trainings, internships and even tuition support to prepare them for the workforce,” Mrs. Nephew said, adding that since 2010 about 18,000 youngsters have benefitted from this component and they have seen positive results.

The final strategy of the Labour Market and Employability component is to provide employment opportunities, create linkages as well as strengthen partnerships between the public and private sectors.

Following a series of job readiness workshops, aimed at exposing youngsters to the requisite skills for the working environment, and executed across the 50 CSJP- targeted communities, job fairs have been coordinated.

The most recent job fair was held on November 20 to engage some 200 youngsters from the 20 CSJP communities in Kingston.

The young people had the opportunity to be interviewed on site, meet with potential employers as well as submit their résumés, in order to access future employment opportunities.

CSJP Job Placement Officer, Karlene Buzzar, told JIS News that although the job fair was oversubscribed, the CSJP processed persons who arrived early. Some 120 persons were interviewed and others are scheduled for the coming weeks.

“There is still hope for persons who did not meet directly with an employer at the job fair. We collected their résumés, they will be sorted, scanned and uploaded to our database. Once job opportunities arise, we will submit them to the companies if the persons on file meet the requirements of the employer,” she explained.

Mrs. Buzzar underscored that other youngsters have been gainfully employed through CSJP initiatives and many have retained such employment.

“The retention rate is very good; we have placed more than 700 persons in permanent jobs and approximately 680 are still employed,” she noted.

Jamaica Promotions Corporation (JAMPRO), Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS), Progressive Grocers and Shersand were some of the employers on location at the job fair.

The CSJP continues to encourage partnerships with corporate Jamaica to create employment and learning opportunities for at-risk youth.

Lydia Campbell of the Drewsland Community, who was at the job fair, told JIS News that she is grateful for the opportunities the job fair provides, because it is very difficult to get a job due to the competition from persons with more qualifications and experience.

 “I am amazed by the work of the CSJP. They are always seeking opportunities for young people. Even the night before the job fair, the Community Action Officer was at our Youth Club meeting, ensuring that persons were reminded and prepared. Kudos to the team for their efforts,” she said.

The CSJP is able to implement programmes such as these through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, UK Department for International Development and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.